WRITTEN BY ROSEMARY HAYES
Emma needed time and Jarrod was happy to wait for her to catch up!
It was definitely a case of love at first sight for me. Puppy love, that is.
“How adorable.” I scooped one of the fluffy bundles into my arms. The squirming pup licked my face.
“She loves you,” said Ruth.
I hugged the pup tighter. “Exactly what I need.”
Even though my ex wasn’t right for me, our breakup had left an empty place in my heart. So, when Ruth told me her dog was having a litter, I knew that’s what I needed. Something to love that would love me back, who wouldn’t point out when I’d gained a few pounds, or had a bad hair day, who wouldn’t care what I looked like first thing in the morning.
So, which will be your new fur baby?
Both were female pups, brown with large black patches. The one in my arms had a black patch over one eye. The other was sitting quietly in front of me until something caught her attention and she bounded away. I heard a lovely deep laugh and turned to see a man bending down and picking up the pup. He held her in the crook of one arm and gently stroked her head.
“Jarrod,” Ruth said. “You came.”
“Yeah, you were right. My house is too big and empty for just one person. A four-legged friend is exactly what I need to fill the void.”
Jarrod knelt down next to me to let the pup run around. She darted away then turned back and jumped on him, leaving dirty paw prints on his jeans. I liked how he laughed as he brushed the dirt away, the mishap not bothering him at all.
“Jarrod, this is Emma, my cousin. Emma this is Jarrod, a work colleague. Have I mentioned him before?”
Ruth knew perfectly well she had mentioned him before…
I suspected the two of us being here at the same time wasn’t a coincidence. I told Ruth I wasn’t ready to date again after my breakup, my heart was still too bruised. But since my first impressions about Jarrod were all positive, I’d forgive her.
“Hi Jarrod, lovely to meet you,” I said.
“Same here,” he smiled. “I think pirate pup is yours, which leaves this cutie,” he stroked the pup under the chin, “for me.”
“So, you’re both going to take home a new family member?” Ruth asked.
Jarrod and I said the word at the same time. We smiled at each other, held eye contact. He had lovely hazel eyes, full of warmth.
“Looks like we’re both smitten.”
“Sure am,” I said. “I can’t wait to take her home, though there’s something that’s bothering me. I feel bad that they’re sisters and won’t see each other again.”
“Maybe they can,” said Jarrod. “If you’d be happy to meet up regularly. Say for walks along the beach?”
I wasn’t ready for a boyfriend, but I was always open to another friend. “That’s a great idea.”
Our first meeting we arranged for Saturday morning at 7am at our local beach.
I arrived first and when I saw Jarrod walking towards me with his pup I waved. The pups were excited to see each other, and it lifted my heart.
“Did you decide on a name for yours yet?” I asked, as we walked along the shoreline, our pups on leads.
“When I was growing up my grandmother had a dog called Peggy, and this pup reminds me a lot of her, so Peggy it is. What about you?”
“Can’t you guess? The black patch over her eye is a big clue.”
“You got it.”
Our conversation flowed effortlessly as we walked down the beach and back. It seemed no time at all before we were back where we started.
“There’s a café nearby,” Jarrod said, “Dog friendly. Interested?”
I caught something in his eye. Was he hoping this could be the start of something? As lovely as he was I really wasn’t looking for love, and I didn’t want to give him the wrong idea.
“Thanks, but I’ll have to pass.”
“That’s OK, but another walk with the pups is still OK, isn’t it? Same place, same time, next week?” he suggested.
“I’ll definitely be here.”
We kept the walks up regularly, getting to know each other well. We had so much in common, and he could make me laugh easily. He accepted me for who I was.
After two months I realised something – it wasn’t just the sight of the two pups together that lifted my heart, it was the sight of Jarrod, too. But all this time I had been putting out ‘friends only’ vibes. That needed to change. And it was up to me.
“I was just wondering,” I said, when our latest walk ended, “if you’d like to join me for coffee, that puppy friendly one you mentioned a while ago?”
“You mean it?”
“I’d love to,” he said.
A year later Jarrod proposed… at the beach, with a message in a love heart, surrounded by paw prints in the sand.
Our My Weekly Favourites series of lovely short fiction from our archives continues on Mondays and Thursdays. Look out for the next one.
Don’t forget – you can find brand new, uplifting short stories every week in My Weekly magazine! Subscribe now for a great money-saving deal.